EDMONTON -- Five more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Alberta.

The province now has 19 cases. One of the new confirmed cases is in the Edmonton zone, and it involves a man in his 30s who received a previously scheduled and unrelated procedure at the Misericordia Community Hospital on March 6 and 7 before he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 9, the province said.

He had recently returned from international travel.

"Any staff or patients who were potentially exposed at this location are being directly contacted by public health," Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said. "There is no risk to any patients or staff at the hospital at this time."

The Calgary zone has three more cases: two women in their 30s and a man in his 20s. The Central zone has its first case with a woman in her 30s. The four patients are recovering at home.

The new cases had recently returned from a number of countries, including Iran, Egypt, Spain, United States and Mexico.


The province is also now asking people who returned from Italy in the last 14 days to self-isolate until two weeks have passed, even if they are feeling well — the same protocol for travellers coming back from Hubei, China and Iran. Starting Friday, travellers coming back from Italy will be screened for COVID-19 at the airport.

"The global situation is changing rapidly and we all need to take steps to protect our health and the health of those around us," Hinshaw said.

People over 65 and those with chronic health conditions are recommended not to travel outside of Canada as the global risk continues to increase.

"Even Albertans who are not in this risk group should think carefully about their travel plans and the possibility they may be exposed to the virus while travelling."

A day after saying the province was working on plans to deal with large public gatherings amid the coronavirus outbreak, Hinshaw is now recommending people who recently returned to Canada to not attend big events.

Hinshaw maintained that the risk of contracting the virus in Alberta remains low, but advised that could change in the coming weeks.

The province continues to stress the important of good hygiene, staying home when feeling sick, and monitoring symptoms for 14 days after returning from anywhere abroad.

There are 115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada: 46 in British Columbia, 42 in Ontario, 19 in Alberta and eight in Quebec.